Neither King David nor Cilly Kugelmann can solve this problem

On the difficulties the organizers of the “Welcome to Jerusalem” exhibition encountered doing justice to the ideal of justice

The colour photo shows the façade of the Jewish Museum Berlin with a traffic sign with the inscription "Welcome to Jerusalem" in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

The much-discussed sign outside the museum, Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jule Roehr

In the Islamic tradition and in the Koran itself, the biblical story of David and Uriah is told in a metaphorical form that differs from the version in the Bible (Koran: Sura 38/21–25): two brothers come to King David and ask him to settle a dispute between them. One of them describes the situation. He tells David that his brother has 99 ewes, but he himself only has one. Now his brother was pressuring him to give him his only ewe. Directly after this brief depiction, David passes his judgment: the one brother’s desire to add the one ewe to his 99 was an injustice to the other brother. The judgment could have been the end of the story, had David not suddenly realized that his decision was unjust. He regretted it deeply. Many Muslim commentators have discussed the sudden turn in the story. One explanation for why the judgment is unjust despite the clarity of the situation is that David made his decision after hearing only one side. In this interpretation, the moral of the story is that in conflicts or disputes, both sides must be allowed to present their perspectives and arguments.  continue reading


Hanukkah meets Christmas: Chrismukkah

Christmas and Hanukkah have quite a lot in common: Candles are lit at both festivals to brighten up the dark season; both festivals fall on the 25th day of a month – Christmas on 25 December and Hanukkah on 25 Kislew, the ninth month of the Jewish calendar; and both are still traditional, family celebrations which have become festivals of consumerism.

The staff of the Jewish Museum Berlin didn’t want to choose between latkes and gingerbread and celebrated the “greatest superholiday known to mankind”:

Character Seth Cohen on the television series The O.C.

Chrismukkah!

 continue reading


Hanukkah commercialized

Gifts are not traditionally given on Hanukkah. Nevertheless, a small industry has started to develop Hanukkah products. No wonder that some objects in our collection are blue-white-plushy – and “made in China” …

The picture shows a doll made of skin-colored plush velvet. The figure is wearing a sleeveless, knee-length blue cotton tunic, which is girded and knotted at the waist with a violet ribbon.

Judah Maccabee rag doll JUDAH MACCABEE / The Hanukkah Hero!;  Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

 

 continue reading